8th Army taps space command for Ulchi Freedom Guardian
CAMP WALKER, South Korea (Aug. 21, 2012) -- During the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, Eighth Army typically receives augmentation from other military commands across the Korean Peninsula and around the globe.
This year they are getting help from space by way of Army Space Support Team 3, known as ARSST3, from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. ARSST3 is part of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/U.S. Army Strategic Forces Command, or SMDC/ARSTRAT, which regularly supports the exercise.
ARSSTs deploy globally to plan, coordinate, integrate and synchronize execution of Space Force Enhancement Functions, and Space Control, in support of military and civil operations.
Team Leader Maj. Rob Hoffman explained that his team usually deploys with the Space Application Technology User Reachback Node, or SATURN, the Global Broadcast System, or GBS; this exercise they also brought the Broadband Global Area Network, known as BGAN, SAT COM Terminal, a commercial product that allows expedited initial communications worldwide.
"The BGAN is very efficient," said Spc. Samuel DuBose. "There is no other system that I would rather deploy with. The fact that it is a briefcase-sized internet providing system is a plus; coupled with the fact that we can set up connections for regular and encrypted internet in less than five minutes makes it huge."
In comparison, he said they setup and commissioned their SATURN system in 3 hours and 45 minutes, which he believes may be close to a record time.
The capabilities, both in technology and in personnel, the ARSST brings reinforce the existing space-based capabilities inherent to Eighth Army.
"Having the Army Space Support Team here is a great benefit to the exercise," said Maj. Ed Schober, senior space operations officer for Eighth Army. "It increases our analysis capability in surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance, terrain analysis, environmental monitoring, and utilization other space-based assets,"
ARSST 3 is currently scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan next spring in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Training exercises like Ulchi Freedom Guardian are carried out in the spirit of the 1953 Republic of Korea-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty. These exercises highlight the longstanding partnership and enduring friendship between the two nations, help to ensure peace and security on the peninsula, and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the region.